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NIGER: Blinken commends Tinubu’s efforts to restore constitutional order

THE US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, lauded President Bola Tinubu’s leadership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in restoring constitutional order in Niger Republic.

The US official stated that he spoke with Nigeria’s President on the phone and discussed “shared efforts” to reinstate President Mohamed Bazoum.

Bazoum, whose election in 2021 was a watershed moment in the country’s difficult history, was deposed by members of his presidential guard on July 26.

His ouster sent shockwave around West Africa, where Mali and Burkina Faso — likewise battered by a jihadist insurgency — have also suffered military takeovers.

To halt the chain reaction, ECOWAS imposed sanctions on Niger and this Thursday authorized the deployment of a “standby force to restore constitutional order.”

However, doubts surround any intervention, ranging from operational capability to internal ECOWAS splits, and the union also states that it prefers a peaceful ending.

It issued a seven-day ultimatum to reinstate Bazoum or face the threat of force on July 30, but the deadline passed without action.

As the crisis enters its third week, the regime is sending mixed signals.

After their chairman, General Abdourahamane Tiani, met with Nigerian religious mediators over the weekend, the coup leaders revealed that they were open to a diplomatic approach.

Those discussions came after an ECOWAS military commanders conference in Ghana was postponed due to “technical reasons.”

On Sunday night, though, Niger’s leaders stated that they had amassed enough evidence to charge Bazoum with “high treason and undermining internal and external security.”

Meanwhile, ECOWAS reacted furiously to the threat stating in a statement that it learned of the threats “with stupefaction.”

“It is yet another form of provocation that contradicts the (regime’s) reported willingness… to restore constitutional order peacefully.”

Since the coup, Bazoum, 63, and his family have been imprisoned at the president’s official mansion, raising international alarm about his health conditions in detention.

Yesterday, civilian Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, the military-appointed prime minister, said that Niger would defy ECOWAS sanctions.

“We believe that, despite the unfairness of the challenge imposed on us, we should be able to overcome it.” “And we will triumph,” he told the German network Deutsche Welle.

The group has cut off financial transactions and electrical supply, as well as shut off borders with landlocked Niger, preventing much-needed goods to one of the world’s poorest countries.

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